Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

What is mindfulness and what does it have to do with my money?

When it comes to money, we often spend either without thought or fueled by emotions.  Be aware of your where your hard earned money is going.

Uncover four insightful ways to be more mindful about your money so you can be a wise spender and supreme saver.
 

I believe we’ve talked about this already but (refresher), about 10 years ago I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness, which both shifted and put into perspective everything I thought I knew. The quickest way I can frame it is by the term I’ve continually repeated since 2008, “I am willing to see things differently.”

Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” When it comes to money, we often spend either without thought or fueled by emotions. For example, a friend gave me some amazing chocolate, which I found a few weeks later for far too much. Did I buy it? Absolutely! I remembered how much I enjoyed it, and though the price was ridiculous, it wasn’t so high that it interfered with my love for that chocolate!

Had I been spending mindfully, I would have remembered that the same friend told me I could get the chocolate from Target (where I was headed anyway) for far less. It was a true waste of money.

Here are a few small ways to inject mindfulness in your spending:

a. Think before you swipe. Ask yourself if you’re spending out of habit or with intention - and if what you’re buying will bring you true joy. I definitely wanted that chocolate, but had I been more conscious I would have remembered that there was a way to have what I truly wanted at a cheaper price, and without going out of my way. I allowed my impulses to take over.

b. Remember your goals. If this purchase is in line with the goals you’ve set for yourself (financial or non-financial), and you can afford it, by all means buy it! But if it in any way makes it harder to achieve the dreams you’ve set for yourself, do not spend the money. Wait until you’ve gotten your goal accomplished, then get it. And if it’ll be gone by then, trust that something as good or better will come along that you’ll appreciate even more.

c. Visualize the end result. It’s often not enough to just say you want to pay off debt or save money, and stick to it in the face of immediate pleasure. Become clear on why you’ve chosen this goal, how you will feel once you’ve accomplished it, and all the things you’ll be able to do as a result. Picture your life post-achievement, keep a visual reminder of it close by, and pull that out whenever you’re faced with the decision to spend.

d. Maintain some impulse money. If you know there are a few things you simply cannot pass up when you see them, budget for that. Keep a small bit of cash (no debit or credit!) with you specifically for the impulse buy. Enjoy those purchases and, when that money is gone, so is the ability to spend impulsively. Let the mindfulness soak in.

Have you tried mindful spending? How did it go? Email me at moneymagnet@homefreeusa.org and let me know!

And so it is.